— Falcon Football (@FalconFootball2) September 29, 2018
NORWALK — One last mistake proved costly for Brien McMahon.
The Senators, who overcame three second-half lost fumbles, rallied late in the game to tie the score at 14-14 to force overtime, but missed an extra point after trading scores in the extra session, and Fairfield Ludlowe capitalized on its way to a dramatic 28-27 FCIAC victory in OT on Friday night at Casagrande Field.
“We were at their 25 five times and four times we fumbled,” McMahon coach Jeff Queiroga said. “Hats off to Ludlowe because they were swiping at the ball and practiced that, but we beat ourselves. You can’t go against a good Ludlowe team and fumble like that and expect to win.”
Queiroga did say he was proud of how his team fought back and that the game gives the players hope. Ludlowe has struggled recently like McMahon has the past couple of years, but has found a way to win games this season with a 3-1 record, including two one-point victories.
“As I told our players, we really have learned how to win,” Ludlowe coach Mitchell Ross said. “This wasn’t pretty, we didn’t play our best game, we made lots of mistakes and we have a habit of shooting ourselves in the foot, but you know what? They don’t point fingers anymore and they pick each other up and never die.
“We’ve come such a long way.”
Senior QB and captain Colin Wilson led Ludlowe with four touchdown passes, including the last two in overtime to fellow captain Jake Northrop.
Wilson said he and his fellow seniors are finishing the job this year, unlike in seasons past.
“To get our third win of the season is unbelievable, especially this comeback, but we have to stop making it so close and play to our potential,” Wilson said. “A win is a win so we’ll take it.”
The Falcons had a 7-6 lead at halftime thanks to a great catch-and-run TD from Brian Howell, who broke a few tackles at midfield and sprinted down the left sideline. Adrian Coello converted his first two field goals of the season to account for McMahon’s scoring.
Ludlowe went on a scoring drive to start the fourth quarter, capped by a 17-yard touchdown pass from Wilson to Carlos Moreno (10:12).
McMahon had one last chance with 6:14 remaining in the game and went on a nine-play, 65-yard scoring push, and were aided by a pass-interference penalty by the Falcons. Jermayne Daniel punched it in from 4 yards out and junior QB Patrick Coulter found Tsai Zoe in the flat for the two-point conversion to tie the score, 14-14 (1:06).
Daniel opened the OT scoring with a 3-yard run to put the Senators ahead 21-14, but Wilson found Northrop to tie the score. Zoe hit pay dirt from 10 yards out yet the extra point failed. Two plays later, Wilson threw another strike to Northrop in the end zone and Victor Cunha booted his fourth extra point of the game to provide the winning margin.
“The kids are used to the pressure after a few close games,” Ross said. “Colin threw great balls and the offense was tremendous in the overtime.”
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Colin Wilson, Ludlowe. The senior QB and captain threw four touchdown passes, two in overtime, to lead the Falcons to a 28-27 OT win on Friday night.
Jake Northrup, Ludlowe. The senior slot receiver and captain caught 2 TDs in overtime from Wilson.
McMahon student George ‘Dylan’ Senft died earlier this month after a courageous battle with osteosarcoma, a type of bone cancer that mostly affects teenagers.
Friday night was the inaugural Pediatric Cancer game, with players from both teams wearing gold laces and the cheerleaders wearing gold bows in recognition of the event. The Brien McMahon football program has made a donation and a portion of the proceeds from the game will be donated to the Dylan Senft Memorial Fund. There’s also a GoFundMe page where people can make donations.
“This is a team that has learned what it takes to compete and to win,” Ross said. “Now they understand that.”
“I’m proud of the resilience of the team,” Queiroga said. “In the past, in the last two years, we would’ve been down and we wouldn’t believe we could’ve won. To put a game-tying drive in the last few minutes and executing gives them hope and confidence they can do it again.”
LUDLOWE 28, McMAHON 27 (OT)
LUDLOWE 0 7 0 7 14—28
McMAHON 3 3 0 8 13 —27
M—Adrian Coello 26 FG
M—Coello 23 FG
L—Brian Howell 65 pass from Colin Wilson (Victor Cunha kick)
L—Carlos Moreno 17 pass from Wilson (Cunha kick)
M—Jermayne Daniel 4 run (Tsai Zoe pass from Patrick Coulter)
M—Daniel 3 run (Coello kick)
L—Jake Northrop 10 pass from Wilson (Cunha kick)
M—Zoe 10 run (kick failed)
L—Northrop 10 pass from Wilson (Cunha kick)
Records: Ludlowe 3-1, McMahon 0-4.